RAPTURE OR RESURRECTION

There are many examples that prove much of what calls itself “Christian” is no longer walking on the straight and narrow path, but is instead, like the rest of the world, in darkness looking for the narrow gate. One of the more egregious is the debate over how and when believer’s leave mortal life at the coming of Jesus Christ.

The essence of the debate is whether there is a “rapture” or a resurrection, but for most of the “rapture” supporters the debate doesn’t even include half the subject. They are fixated on the “rapture” to the near complete exclusion of the resurrection. The primary tenet of Christianity is the resurrection of the dead to everlasting life. This central role of the resurrection gives it the power of context over every other “teaching”. It is foundational to the gospel itself and therefore requires vigorous defense by the Elders of the Church. Where are you Elders?

The “rapture” holds no such preeminence in the gospel, or any scripture for that matter. In fact, it is not even mentioned in the Bible at all! A teaching that is presented as foundational Christianity, and yet is not found in the Bible, is called a false teaching! To be just towards its proponents who, though in error, are earnestly seeking truth, I should say that although it is not biblical as an event, it is elemental to the resurrection.

So, how did this false teaching captivate so many believers, and how did so many of their teachers come to promote such a dangerous myth? It starts in the heart of men. There we find our greatest strengths, and our greatest weaknesses. The scripture tells us that the resurrection will happen on the last day, Jesus Himself says so. This should then be irrefutable among believers, and yet today it is nearly the subject of open warfare. You see, if the resurrection happens on the last day then all believers who are alive on earth will endure the time of great tribulation. This is not something that is desirable to anyone, including Christians, so naturally the hearts of men shrink back in fear. They start to become desperate to escape the horrible time described in prophecy. This is where they are at their weakest. Satan, as well as other weak men, begin to change the meanings and intent of the prophecy. Soon their fearful hearts turn cold to the truth, and thus they begin to believe lies, they become delusional. Soon they surround themselves with many teachers who tickle their ears with what they want to hear. After that it takes but little time and imagination to create an entirely new religion and false faith to replace in their hearts their faith that God will see them through the end-times. Once a majority believes the lies, or at least doesn’t contest them, their numbers begin to bear down on the believers of the truth, and the liars become emboldened by the their collective power to see the truth-believers as extremist and radicals, even usurping the very name Christian in the effort to be deemed legitimate, as we see today.

The “magic” of the “rapture” teaching is that it has Jesus coming back to evacuate the believers before the time of great tribulation begins. In their rendition He takes them up to heaven where they hang out with Him for ever more. Naturally this teaching is more desirable, from a selfish perspective, than the true gospel that has the believers going through the testing and purification of the tribulation time. But Christianity is not a selfish belief, it is a selfless faith focused on its Savior and King. It serves Him and others at expense to itself. It does not fear what God has ordained for it. The true Church knows that God works all things for the good of those who love Him.

So, does the rapture exist at all? As I said before it is an element of the resurrection, a part of the event. This teaching is centered on one verse in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Caught up is translated from the Greek work rapturo, but rapturo is not translated into “rapture” because it is used in conjunction with other words to present a meaning different than its stand alone meaning of being caught up in the air. One of those words is apantesis. By itself this word means to meet, but its use in the verse above has a special meaning used in scripture only four times. It was used in antiquity to describe the event of a VIP spotted coming towards your city or town. The whole of the populace would turn out to meet the VIP out on the road and escort him back with much fanfare into the city. So, the verse above is actually describing the resurrection as: The believers, both dead and alive, will be caught up into the air to meet the Lord and escort Him back to earth where we will be with Him forever more.

The word rapturo therefore contributes meaning to apantesis in describing the resurrection which happens on the last day, just as Jesus said. There will be no 7-year vacation for believers while the world self-destructs. There are not three comings of Christ, only two. The “rapture” is a myth as it is commonly now taught. There is an overwhelming amount of scriptural evidence, in proper context, that completely, and irrefutably support a last day resurrection, at least for those who are willing to abandon fear and desire in order to trust God and accept His Word!

From Outside Babylon